DR. RICHARD SIMPSON MSP “BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED” AS SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT REJECT STIRLING POWERLINE UNDERGROUNDING

Dr. Richard Simpson, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife has said he is “bitterly disappointed” that the SNP Government has rejected calls to underground the Stirling stretch of the Beauly to Denny powerline. 

Dr. Simpson has been a long-time supporter of communities and campaigners who have objected to the building of the 50m high pylons in the Stirling area on health and visual impact grounds. 

Ministers approved the 600-pylon network, to connect renewable power to the national grid, in January 2010.  The delay in in this latest decision which gives the go-ahead to plans to reduce the visual impact in Stirling area has been received with cynicism by opposition parties as a political move to ensure no SNP votes were lost at the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May of this year. 

Keith Brown MSP, the SNP member for Ochil in 2007, is the current representative for the new seat of Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, and also Minister for Transport and Housing.  The MSP had said in 2007 that he was concerned the pylon proposals “runs roughshod over all sense of social responsibility” to his constituents.*

Dr. Richard Simpson MSP said; 

“Keith brown made this one of the central themes of his 2007 election campaign – that the line should be undergrounded. On this, as on the SAK line, he has failed to deliver any significant improvement for his constituents. 

The Minister did not disagree with my contention that the cost of undergrounding was now down from 15-20 to 5-15 times as much as overhead lines.  The cost of undergrounding a significant part of the Stirling line on the present line would only be around £85 million.  

Set against investments of billions of pounds in renewables, this seems a small price to pay to protect the community from possible health hazards and protect the beautiful Stirling landscape. 

The mitigation measures are an insult. The SNP should be ashamed – delaying this for two years and then inflicting this wound upon the Stirling people.”

DR SIMPSON: IMPACT OF ALCOHOL BULK-BUY DISCOUNTS BAN ‘ENCOURAGING’

Commenting on reports that the amount of alcohol sold in Scottish shops and supermarkets has fallen since a ban on multi-buy deals was brought in October 2011, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, Dr Richard Simpson MSP, said: 

 “This research is encouraging and suggests that targeted action on irresponsible promotions as part of a wide package of measures can have a real, positive and, hopefully, lasting impact on Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol and is why Labour backed this measure.

 “However, it is concerning that, despite reassurances from the SNP government at the time, too many retailers are still flaunting loopholes in the legislation and offering discounts on multipacks that run completely counter to the spirit of the legislation.

 “If we are to seriously tackle the problem we need a response which recognises its complexity. The SNP is under the illusion that minimum unit pricing is some sort of magic silver bullet, but unfortunately no one measure is going to tackle Scotland’s relationship with alcohol. As the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies has pointed out, minimum unit pricing will do is deliver a multi-million windfall for big supermarkets without providing a single extra penny for our NHS, as well as not targeting problem drinks, could lead to significant cross border issues and big questions still remain over whether these plans will be struck down in the courts. Polls also show that the public are just as sceptical about the SNP’s minimum unit price plans as Scottish Labour are.

 “That is why Scottish Labour will propose a raft of positive, practical measures across licensing, criminal justice, social work, health and education that we believe will help tackle Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.”

Passing on the Remploy Baton

Last week I passed on the Remploy baton to celebrate the International Day of Disabled People.

I am proud to represent the disabled people within the region of Mid Scotland and Fife and happy to support Remploy in helping get those with disabilities into work.

This is why I chose to pass the Baton onto my colleague John Park – to celebrate and emphasise Mid Scotland and Fife’s strong support for Remploy.